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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Courtyard by the West Sea in Beijing, China by META-PROJECT

 
February 7th, 2017 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: META-PROJECT 

Unlike the introverted quality of the traditional courtyard house, the owner of this site asked for a variety of mix-use program, including tea house, dinning, party space, office, meeting, as well as dwelling and entertainment. Thecontemporary and sometime “public” program opened up the courtyard to become “extraverted”, so as to induce more human interactions. These required us to break the general understanding of the courtyard as an enclosed typology by introducing the experience of “meandering in the hutongs” into the courtyard, and the interventional approach was derived from the unfolding spatial narrative of hutong life.

West Elevation, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

  • Architects: META-PROJECT
  • Project: Courtyard by the West Sea
  • Location: West Sea, Beijing, China
  • Photography: Su Chen and Chun Fang
  • Design Team: Wang Shuo, Zhang Jing, Yaping Wu, Yin Cheng, Qianqian Chang, Han Wang, Guowei Zhang, Tian Lan
  • Lighting Consultant: Xiaowei Han
  • Area: 800 m2
  • Date: April, 2013 – October, 2013
  • Status: Construction Completed

West Elevation, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

The cautions with which specific renovation measurements are made demonstrate circumspection. First, we converted the narrow corridorsqueezed between two rows of brick buildingtoa mode that is compatible with the hutong-courtyard typology by demolishing the temporary structure to the east and in the middle, so as to introduce cross-sectional changes along the 60-meter long site. Then by adding 3 different types of “loggia” at the hinge of the expanded spaces, we redefined the layers in the longitudinal depth, thus reconstructed a “three-step-courtyard” in the spatial sense.

Courtyard, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Courtyard, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Here the “three-step-courtyard” is not an imitation of the traditional symmetrical courtyard pattern in the hutongs, but a contemporary reinterpretation of the multi-layer courtyard space and its possible variation along the depth, andhow it will shift the movement of steps and sense of space. The owner’s life – all the mixed programs, were sorted and divided by 3 courtyards full of vegetation, making the daily routine of walking in and out the site a continuous spatial experience full of rhythm.

Medium shot of Tile in cloudy day, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Prospect of tile, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

In the process of renovation, one might find some interesting spatial model, but in the end, it all has to integrate with the life it carries. Further beyond, what interested us in the renovation is how design strategy can appropriately reduce the amount of construction:using existing footprint to make small-scale buildings, using wood, brick, tile…all these local materials, using local craftsmanship but through new tectonic method, to respond to the problem in everyday scale and at the local level, so the users’ lives can unfold in it naturally. Intervention in the hutongs therefore needs to be based on the true understanding of life and culture, the “Aura” of a thing as Walter Benjamin pointed out, instead of rigid protection to its physical appearance.

night view of Balcony, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

View Balcony from inside, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Open Window,Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Open Window, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

View West Sea from window, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Courtyard, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Detail of Tile, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Before, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Before, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Before, Image Courtesy © Su Chen and Chun Fang

Elevations, Image Courtesy © META-PROJECT

Plans, Image Courtesy © META-PROJECT

Diagram of Tile, Image Courtesy © META-PROJECT

Diagram of Tile, Image Courtesy © META-PROJECT

Location Plan, Image Courtesy © META-PROJECT

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Categories: Courtyard, entertainment venue, Living Area, Meeting House, Mixed use, Offices, Teahouse

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